Right, new feature time guys and girls. We haven't done game reviews on Popsiculture before now, mostly because we aren't big gamers, and I have only recently become the proud owner of a Playstation 3 (320GB, slim, and oh so sexy...check out Amazon for probably the best PS3 bundle deals on the internet). Yep, after certain adverse football results at the weekend, I was forced to cheer myself up by spending some serious money on the first console I've owned in a decade, with two brand new games, Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit and Assassin's Creed Brotherhood.
Once we had overcome the technical difficulties associated with linking said PS3 to a Sony Bravia LCD VPL-AW15 projector, and Altec Lansing FX5051 speaker system, the first game in to the slot was Need for Speed, for some hi-def, big screen, surround sound action, racing around the beautifully rendered scenery of Seacrest County. Not that there's much time for looking at the scenery, as the game launches you straight in to Career Mode, and reveals a strange definition of a career in this fictitious little corner of America, where you are by turns either a maniacal criminal street racer, or a maniacal Police driver.
This could be a fairly schizophrenic experience, constantly switching from one side of the law to the other, but it never really becomes a problem. The Need for Speed franchise has never been about assuming a character and getting deeply involved in a storyline, oh no. It's all about jumping into some of the world's most exclusive and ridiculously high-powered supercars, and charging through the streets like a lunatic, smashing them and other road users to pieces in the process. In short, it's all about fun.
Crimial missions are mostly races or time trials where you have to beat other racers or avoid cops to progress. Police missions are bit more varied, including simple time trial style runs, as well as interceptions which pitch you against a single criminal determined to elude you, and (best of all) races where you have to bust as many crims as possible before they reach the finish line.
Both earn Bounty as they go, to unlock new ever-more-powerful cars, and weapons and increase their rank. Each strand has it's own weapons: jammers and turbo boosts for the racers, road blocks and helicopter units for the Police, while both get spike-strips and EMP blasts to inflict damage on one another.
Then there's the online mode, where you can test your skills against other sofa-speedsters from around the world. Cops vs Racers team events rapidly descend into absolute free-for-alls of burnt rubber and twisted metal, while the straight races will usually leave you trailing in the wake of some 14-year-old Lewis Hamilton. But that's okay, it just makes it all the sweeter when you finally overhaul them and make them eat your dirt.
Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit is a crazy nitrous fuelled joyride, the kind that will give teenage boys (and older) all over the world wet dreams. Not only can you drive the Bugatti Veyron at speeds of over 210mph, you can do so while weaving your way through oncoming traffic, and when you crash you get to enjoy a cinematic slow-motion replay, dust yourself off, and do it all over again. What's not to like? Well, apart from the football scores.
Final Score: 89%